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Entries / First All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies

First All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies

Categories / Social Life

FIRST ALL-RUSSIAN CONGRESS OF SOVIETS OF WORKERS' AND SOLDIERS' DEPUTIES. Held on 3-24 June (16 June - 7 July) 1917. Most of the sittings were held in the 1st Cadet Corps building (3/1 Kadetskaya Line); some were held at Tauride Palace. Present at the congress were some 1.090 deputies representing 305 Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies, along with 53 regional, provincial and district Soviets, the entire 21st organization of the functioning army, five naval, and eight rear military organizations (822 with a unanimous vote). The party structure was as follows: 285 Socialist-Revolutionaries, 248 Mensheviks, 105 Bolsheviks, 32 Mensheviks-Internationalists, and others. Menshevik N.S. Chkheidze headed the congress. The agenda sought to define the revolutionary and democratic governmental power; an attitude to war; preparations for calling the Constituent Assembly; a review of national, land and food problems, as well as local self-government. On 4 (17) June, in his report concerning the Provisional Government, Menshevik M.I. Liber appealed for the support from all representatives of socialist parties for the Provisional Government coalition outlined in May 1917. During the speech made by Menshevik I.G. Tsereteli, who stressed that there was no political party in Russia ready to take power entirely, Lenin voiced his reply, "There is!" After this, Lenin gave an account of the Bolsheviks' position on the transition of power to the Soviets and declared the readiness of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party (Bolsheviks) for an immediate seizure of power. After discussion, the congress declined the calls made by the Bolsheviks and Social Democrat-Internationalists, and accepted a political resolution encouraging "the whole revolutionary democracy of Russia to join its forces more closely around the Soviets... and to energetically support the Provisional Government". In his report about the attitude towards the war, Menshevik F. I. Dan spoke against the army's state of disorganization. A.F. Kerensky, member of the Labour Party, along with I.G. Tsereteli and G.V. Plekhanov, insisted on the necessity of continuing the war; Lenin, L. D. Trotsky and other members of left-wing parties demanded an end to the "Imperialistic war" and a break with the powers of the Entente. The majority of deputies supported the signing of "a democratic peace treaty without annexations and contributions", but the meaning of these words differed. As a result, the congress accepted the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik resolution approving the Provisional Government's foreign policy and measures on strengthening "the fighting force of the army". Trying to exert influence and pressure on the Congress, the Central Committee and the Petersburg Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party (Bolsheviks) arranged a demonstration in Petrograd for 10 (23) June, but on 9 (22) June the congress banned any demonstrations for the next three days and made an anti-Bolshevik speech to the workers and soldiers. The Bolsheviks had to abandon the demonstration; the congress then announced a demonstration for 18 June (1 July), which was carried out under Bolshevik slogans. The congress expressed support for an offensive starting on 19 June (2 July) on the front line. The Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik resolutions regarding the preparation of the Constituent Assembly, as well as national, economic and other problems, were all approved. The congress elected the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of Soviets, made up of 320 people (Chkheidze became the head of the presidium; 242 members were Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, 58 were Bolsheviks). Over the course of the congress, a deep difference was revealed between the Bolsheviks and other left-wing radicals, along with the majority of socialist parties. In memory of the congress, in 1918, Kadetskaya Line was renamed Syezdovskaya Line (Congress Line); there is a memorial plaque at building no. 1/3 commemorating Lenin's speeches made on 4 (17) and 9 (22) June.

References: Первый Всероссийский съезд Советов р[абочих] и с[олдатских] д[епутатов]: В 2 т. М.; Л., 1930-1931.

A. M. Kulegin.

Chkheidze Nikolay Semenovich
Dan Fedor Ilyich
Kerensky Alexander Fedorovich
Lenin (real name Ulyanov) Vladimir Ilyich
Liber (Goldmann) Mikhail Isaakovich
Plekhanov Georgy Valentinovich
Trotsky (real name Bronstein) Lev Davidovich
Tsereteli Irakly Georgievich

Siezdovskaya Line of Vasilievsky Island/Saint Petersburg, city, house 1/3
Siezdovskaya Line of Vasilievsky Island/Saint Petersburg, city

Первый Всероссийский съезд Советов р[абочих] и с[олдатских] д[епутатов]: В 2 т. М.; Л., 1930-1931

The subject Index
Tauride Palace
Constituent Assembly, All-Russian
Provisional Government of 1917